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The Trail of Archduke Johann from Graz to Maribor

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Get acquainted with a viticultural-wine El Dorado 'par exellence'! Both Styrias, Slovenian and Austrian, and their wine roads boast extremely rich wine cultures and all that is linked to it – including top quality wines.

One of the most meritorious men for this was truly the prominent Hapsburg Archduke Johann who fell in love with these places in the first half of the 19th century, who helped improve the economy here and included them in the modern methods of producing wine. Finally he made his home in this golden corner of central Europe.

Along the wine roads of Austrian Styria…

For his permanent residence Archduke Johann chose Stainz castle, which is the centre of the first of three wine roads on the Austrian side of the border, over which leads the trail of Archduke Johann. It is called the Schilcher wine road. After Stainz the most prominent stop on Johann's trail towards the south is Kitzek, the centre of the Sausaler wine road. Further south we come across charming names such as Ehrenhausen, Gamlitz and Leutscah, which are 'supporting pillars' of the South Styrian wine road. This road 'leans' on the border with Slovenia, which today both states and countryside unites more than it divides.

Wine roads of Slovenian Lower Styria

Also on the southern side of the border, on the Slovenian side of Lower Styria, the trail of Archduke Johann touches three wine roads and eminent places that mark the roads. The first is the almost 600 metre high hill of St Urban, a sort of relief symbol of the Upper Slovenske gorice wine-tourist road. Quite nearby, below the hill on the southeastern side, is Maribor, the second largest city in Slovenia and home to the oldest vine in the world. From there in its immediate northern and eastern wine growing hinterland, winds the Maribor wine-tourist road. And after that there is the Podpohorska wine-tourist road, divided into individual sections, which on its upper end commences in Meranovo above Limbuš. Meranovo is one of the most recognised Lower Styrian stopovers in the life of Archduke Johann. Namely, it was here in the year 1822 that he purchased the estate, which he changed into a well loved occasional residence and natural 'laboratory' for testing and growing new sorts of vines that he brought with him; not before long it also became an educational centre for progressive viticulturists and winegrowers.